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Uday Prakash says BJP is trying to scuttle award wapsi ahead of UP elections

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Jaipur: BJP government is trying to stop the award wapsi movement following the upcoming UP elections which are due early next year, Uday Prakash said on Saturday.

He was the first writer to return his Sahitya Akademi award, sparking a nation-wide debate on intolerance.

Uday Prakash said that the recent decision of some of the writers to take back the award smacks of politics. The poet said that the suicide of a Hyderabad University student has maligned the image of the government and it is trying to make it up by convincing writers to retrieve their awards.

“The suicide of the Hyderabad student had damaged the image of the BJP government. Hindus are turning it into a caste war. I also foresee that since the Uttar Pradesh elections are due, the government is wooing the writers to take back the award,” said Uday Prakash, adding that he wouldn’t reclaim his award.

The poet also said that the decision of some of the writers to reclaim the award will dampen the civil society movement, and felt that they could have delayed the announcement.

“The decision of some of the writers to take back the award came a bit early. This is going to weaken the civil society movement. The writers should have reviewed whether anything substantial was done by the government or not,” he said.

Citing the suicide of a Dalit student in Hyderabad, he asserted that intolerance is still high in the country, and writers have to address this issue.

“It’s not just about Sahitya Akademi, intolerance is happening in Hyderabad and other institutions across the country. Writers can’t keep quiet in this atmosphere,” he felt.

The Sahitya Akademi claimed on Thursday that two writers, including Nayantara Sahgal, have agreed to reclaim their awards. However, Sahgal has denied this.(IANS)

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Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Intact

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient

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Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.
Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.

By Sagarneel Sinha

There have been lots of discussions among the political circles that JDU led by Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar is upset with the BJP and trying to send signals to erst allies — RJD and the Congress. This led to speculations that Nitish may once again join the Grand Alliance (GA) leaving the NDA camp. Already, RJD’s new commander Tejasvi Yadav has clearly stated that Nitish led JDU will not be welcomed in the GA. Despite all the odds, if (suppose) GA partners accommodate Nitish, he wouldn’t be the driving force of the alliance as in 2015. Also, Nitish cannot afford to go alone like in 2014 when his party fetched only 2 seats!

Then which is the correct way for JDU? It is to go with the BJP in the upcoming 2019 polls.
JDU’s advantage in this case is the present situation of the BJP. Currently, the saffron party is not in a strong position as the party would be facing anti-incumbency from a strong RJD led alliance in the state. BJP’s traditional voters are the upper castes who account for 17% of the electorate. This votebank is not enough for the party to help to win elections. The main opposition party — RJD still commands over a larger votebank than BJP. RJD is still a dominant force among the Yadavs and the Muslims who account for 31% of the population. It means BJP has to minus the 31% votes and rely on the rest — 69%. Out of these, 16% are the Mahadalits — a large portion of whom generally hail Nitish Kumar as their leader. Also, there are Kurmis, an OBC group consisting of 4% votes — considered as the supporters of JDU. Nitish Kumar himself is also a Kurmi.

Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar
Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar.

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient. However, if these votebanks are joined together they form around 31-32%. Plus, to gain the extra votes, both the parties have the option to rely on the personal charisma of Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, there is a power tussle between the two allies to get a respectable share of seats.

This power tussle is because of a strong BJP which earlier used to be a junior ally. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections changed the political scenario of the state where BJP emerged as the largest party in terms of vote share and seats. JDU knows the reality of a new emerging BJP, though it is pushing hard to gain a respectable share of seats for the Lok Sabha elections. Instead, Nitish Kumar has another option — giving the bigger chunk to the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections and the latter playing the junior partner for the 2020 assembly elections if held timely. Given the current situation in the country, in a crucial state like Bihar, BJP can hardly reject JDU as the later still commands over 15-16% votes — a very crucial votebank for winning maximum seats in the 2019 polls. Importance of JDU can also be explained by BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Patna to have breakfast and dinner with Nitish Kumar. Though in politics there are no permanent friends or foes, so any perfect prediction is impossible. But given the current situation, JDU and BJP parting their ways seems unlikely as both the parties are in need of each other as already highlighted by Amit Shah that the two allies would fight the Lok Sabha elections together. Smiling face of Nitish Kumar was also an indication that the meetings with Amit Shah were fine.